7 Films for World Water Day

Stuck at home? Need a break from the news cycle and a way to feel connected?

World Water Day is this Sunday, and you can still take action for water from your couch, bathroom and backyard! Once you’ve checked off a few of these river-friendly tips and habits around the house this week, get fired up about the impact we can have on the future of Oregon’s waters with these films featuring rivers from around the world, stories of water and environmental justice, and overcoming the odds to protect our environment, health and future generations.

Oregon isn’t immune to the impacts of drought, toxics, aging infrastructure, and the increasing impacts of climate change on our water resources. Here are our staff picks to broaden and energize your #MyWaterWhy this World Water Day:


A ‘watershed film’ that explores one of the nation’s most active river conservation movements. Within Oregon’s Willamette River system, the film focuses on people from all walks of life who are coming together to revive the health of this large river and the life it supports.

Streaming for Freshwaters Illustrated members at https://www.freshwatersillustrated.org/upriver

Return of the River

A film about the largest dam removal project in the history of the United States, and the extraordinary effort to restore an ecosystem and set a river free. “Return of the River” is the documentary film that lives up to the grandeur of the Elwha, its renewal, and its promise. The film follows a coalition of people who attempt the impossible: to change the opinion of a town and eventually the nation to bring two dams down. A divided community comes to consensus, launching an unprecedented restoration effort.

Rent at http://www.elwhafilm.com/order.htm | Amazon


Another look at the Elwha River, Patagonia presents this powerful film exploring the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access.

Stream free at Tubi | Rent on YouTube | Amazon | Google Play

Dark Waters

An American legal thriller starring Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters is a dramatized account of the corporate lawyer who uncovered chemical manufacturing company DuPont dumped hundreds of gallons of toxic sludge into a river near its plant in West Virginia, poisoning the nearby community. This case brought to light the significant health impacts of “forever chemicals” PFOS, PFAS and PFOA. Now these chemicals are widely found in drinking water supplies, non-stick cookware, food package, outdoor gear, firefighting foams and more. Learn more about actions Congress is taking to regulate this category of hazardous chemicals.

Rent on YouTube | Amazon | Google Play

Thirsty for Justice: the struggle for the human right to water

In the richest nation on earth, and wealthiest state in the nation, how can so many people lack access to safe affordable water for their basic human needs? From the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water in California, Thirsty for Justice shares powerful stories of those who suffer from this assault on their personal health and human dignity, as well as the inspiring story of the grassroots movement that made the human right to water the law of the land in California.

Watch at https://ejcw.org/thirsty/?page_id=532

A River’s Last Chance

The Eel River in Northern California is arguably the best opportunity for wild salmon recovery on the entire west coast. The river and salmon have weathered decades of over fishing, abusive logging, catastrophic floods and droughts, a hydro power dam that diverts water out of basin. Today the Eels recovering wild salmon compete for water with the region’s underground multi-billion dollar cannabis economy and the multi-billion dollar wine industries of Sonoma and Mendocino. This film is rooted in the belief that we can live symbiotically with our watersheds and encourage both a rivers recovery and economic future.

Rent on Vimeo | Amazon

Our Planet: Fresh Water

David Attenborough’s Emmy Award-winning project for Netflix centers how climate change impacts all living creatures. This episode highlights the need for fresh water is as strong as ever. However, the supply is becoming increasingly unpredictable for all manner of species.

Stream on Netflix

Changing Currents

Changing Currents is a platform for unique Native perspectives and experiences related to water – its place in our cultures, our creation stories, and our daily lives. Check out this collection of short films and videos from Northwest Tribes that reflect Indigenous values around our water resources, and efforts underway to protect and preserve rivers, cultures and ways of life for future generations.

Visit changingcurrents.net

On World Water Day, join Oregonians from across the state as we celebrate our common interest in preserving the water we drink, play in, live near and rely on. Add your #MyWaterWhy to the map at oregonworldwaterday.org.

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What’s Your Water Why?

March 2, 2020, 6:18 pm


Water. Culture. Tradition. Protection.

“I used to think my inheritance was the land, the right to fish and hunt. But our true inheritance is the responsibility to care for it.” -Shirod Younker, speaking to students at the first Changing Currents Youth Water Summit, August 2019 Water is important to all of us – whether it be for our most basic health needs, our livelihoods, or to maintain the critical ecosystems and beautiful places that have drawn
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